DEONI
SYSNONYMS: DONGEPATI, DONGARI, WANNERS, BALANKYA, SHEVERA

 
ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
 

The Deoni is a very popular dual purpose breed of cattle of Marathwada region of Maharashtra state and adjoining parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh states. Its breeding tract lies in the Balaghat range of Sahyadri hills. The actual place of origin is Deoni, Udgir and Ahmedpur taluks of Latur district. It is also found in Parbhani, Nanded and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra and Bidar district of Karnataka.
Deoni cattle is believed to have been developed from Gir cattle about 280-300 years back. The tribes Rabaris, Bharwads, Charans, Maldars, Ahirs etc. used to move with their cattle from Gujarat in search of fodder during scarcity period towards the southern parts of country. During these perods, Gir herds also come to Gujarat state of Marathwada region. The migration of Girs to Marathwada led to the increasing admixture of Gir blood with local herds, contribution to the development of Deoni cattle. This breed has derived from the habitat i.e. Deoni taluk of Latur district. The estimated population of Deoni breed in 1998 was 119,000.Breedable females, breeding bulls and bullocks constituted 33.6, 1.5 and 41.1 % respectively.

LOCATION AND TOPOGRAPHY
Breeding tract of Deoni cattle covers an area of about 11,240 km. This area lies between 170 35’ and 20001’ north, and 750 16’ and 78015’ east. The whole area is hilly with average altitude of 409 and 455 m above msl. 2 major rivers, viz. Manjra and Mnyad, flow through this area.

SOIL
Soils are deep black and heavy varying from medium light to black cotton.

CLIMATE
Climate is generally hot throughout the year except winter months. Mean maximum temperature ranges from 290 440 C while mean minimum temperature varies from 90 to 270 C. The average rainfall is 75 to 89 cam maximum precipitation from mid July to end of September. Average relative humidity ranges from 49 to 54%.
The entire area is open with very scanty vegetation and poor grass cover. Grazing facilities as such are scanty. Sorghum, pearl millet, pigeon pea, groundnut, sunflower, cotton, blackgram and green pea are major kharif crops, and rabi sorghum, wheat, Bengal gram are major rabi crops.

MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Herd size is small, mainly 1 or two cows, a pair of bullocks and some young stock. Deoni cattle are maintained under semi-intensive system. Animals are housed mostly in open houses. Most of the animals are given individual care. Calves are not weaned. Male calves are nursed better and no longer as compared to female calves. Animals are taken to pastures during daytime. Generally animals are maintained on grazing only. Common grasses are marvel (Dicanthium annulatum), kuntha (Teachninusam), dongri (Heteropogan contratus) and pawana (Sahima nurvestum). Bullocks, bulls calves and milking cows are offered some crop residues, viz. sorghum (kadbi), wheat straw, gram and groundnut, and some concentrates like ground-nut-cake, cotton seed, chickpea and millets. Males are castrated at about 30 months of age and used for transportation from about 3 years of age.

PHISICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Body color is usually spotted black and white. This breed has 3 strains viz. (i) complete white animals without any spot on the body (blankya), (ii) complete white animals with partial black face (wannera), and (iii) black and white spotted animals (weghyd or Shevera). Ears are grey-white, or complete white with black pinna. Ears are dropping like in the Gir.In some animals ear tip is slightly curved. Forehead is prominent and slightly bulged similar to that of the Gir.Horns emerge from the side of the poll behind and above the eyes in outward and upward direction, slightly backward and again curving upward. Horns tips are blunt. Eyes are prominent and bright, with black eyebrows and black eyelashes. Hump is massive and well developed in males but not so females. Limbs are clean, straight and powerful. Hooves are black and symmetrically placed. Dewlap and sheath are of medium size. Switch of the tail is black and white reaching below hock joint. Skin is thick, loosely attached with body. Udder is moderately developed. Teats are black, cylindrical with rounded tips, and are squarely placed. Animals are docile and calm. Alminism, pendulous dewlap, heavy sheath, loose skin, leggings, and narrow ad long-drawn mouth with slightly roman arched face are some undesirable characteristics.

MORPHOMETRIC AND PERFORMANCE PARAMETERS
Length, height and heart girth range from 105,150,127 to 164 and 152 to 201 cm, respectively in males, and 110 to 139, 116 to 132 and 145 to 165 cm, respectively, in females, Birth weight averages 23.4 +/- 2.48kg (range 20 to 25kg) Adult body weight ranges from 620 to 680 kg in males and from 432 to 485 kg in females. Age at first calving ranges from 894 to 1,540 days with and average f 1,39 +/- 26.74 days Milk yield Deoni cows ranges from 639 to 1,230 kg with and average of 940 kg. Lactation length ranges from 169 to 475 days with an average for 299.0 +/- 7.83 days. Calving interval averages 447 days. Milk contains 4.3% fat, 9.69% SNF and 13.99% total solids. Deoni bullocks are preferred for heavy work. A pair of Deoni bullocks can pull 10 to 11q of load using wooden heavy cart with wooden wheels on kutcha roads and 28 to 30q using light steel cart with type on tar roads. These can plough 594 m2 and harrow 1,615 m2 of land per hour. Deoni bullocks reach the maximum potential around 5 to 6 years of age and maintain it effective up to 12 years of age.

BREEDING FARMS

  • Deoni Cattle breeding Farm, Gudaripalli, Andhra Pradesh
  • Cattle Breeding Farm: Kampasagar; Zahirabad, Andhra Pradesh
  • Deoni Cattle Breeding Farm, Bidar, Karnataka
  • University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad, Karnataka
  • Cattle Breeding Farm, Udgir, Maharashtra
  • Agricultural College-cum-Dairy Farm, Parbhani, Maharashtra

CONTACT AGENCIES

  • Marathwada Agricultural University, Parbhani, Maharashtra
  •  State Animal Husbandry Department, Maharashtra